Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced on Wednesday that the state’s Refugee Coordinator sent a letter to the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement informing the federal government of its intention to opt-out of the national refugee program.
Citing security issues, Gov. Abbott said the Obama Administration has failed to cooperate with Texas in devising a more comprehensive security program to ensure Syrian refugees don’t pose a terror risk.
“Despite multiple requests by the State of Texas, the federal government lacks the capability or the will to distinguish the dangerous from the harmless, and Texas will not be an accomplice to such dereliction of duty to the American people,” Abbot said in a statement.
Specifically, the Lone Star State proposed more stringent background checks and a requirement that federal officials guarantee none of the refugees being resettled were Muslim extremists.
A statement by the federal Refugee Resettlement office reiterated that refugees are only provided government services after passing a thorough security screening.
Since January 2011, 1,104 Syrians have been resettled in Texas, which is less than the 1,610 directed to California and 1,515 that have gone to Michigan.
On Aug. 29, the White House announced that 10,000 Syrian refugees would be admitted by the end of this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. President Obama has also indicated that the federal government would like to increase total admissions from the war-torn country in 2017.
In the past year, by comparison, Germany has admitted more than 1 million refugees from Syria, North Africa and Asia, while Canada has taken in 30,000 between November 2015 and May.
Texas will officially withdraw from the U.S. refugee program on Jan. 31, 2017, but may still take on refugees from private organizations.
[Reuters] [Washington Free Beacon via Fox News] [Photo courtesy Erich Schlegel/Getty Images via Dallas Morning News]